Lee Patrick Byrne (28), from Dublin, was charged with alleged racist abuse against ex-Manchester United player Andrew Cole.

The incident, which also saw Gregory Horan (26) charged with being drunk on a plane, took place on a flight from Dublin to Manchester. The pair were arrested upon disembarkation on Sunday.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said “Gregory Horan, 26, of no fixed abode, has been charged with being drunk in an aircraft and Lee Patrick Byrne, 28, from Dublin, Republic of Ireland, has been charged with a racially-aggravated public order offense.''

A statement from the Greater Manchester Police confirmed officers were called to the airport in relation to an inbound flight from Dublin.

“Officers were responding to reports that a 42-year-old man was being subjected to racial abuse while on the plane, and that two passengers were drunk and would not co-operate with cabin staff.”

The accused appeared before Trafford Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Cole (42) has suffered numerous racial taunts, both on and off the pitch. The former Manchester United player is heavily involved in Kick it Out, a campaign that aims to stamp out abuse in the stands and the dressing room.